Somewhere in Time (A Fairy tale Retelling)

Read Part One, Part Two, and Part Three before continuing.

Part Four

A few weeks later

It had been sixteen years since I died and became a Grim Reaper. I had guided many a soul to the Underworld, but never in my wildest dreams could I have guessed that hers might be one of them.

The Same Year (1920)

“They’re all dead.”

Aurora heard a voice, but where was it coming from? Her mind was foggy. Nothing made sense, and why couldn’t she open her eyes? She tried again, but she couldn’t move a muscle. What was happening?

It was her sixteenth birthday. Her parents were home, and she had big things planned for the day. Beyond that, she remembered nothing. Where were her parents? Were they with her? All those thoughts were giving her a headache.

“What about her?” another voice said.

Still, she couldn’t open her eyes. Who were these people, and why were they talking so loudly? Who were they talking about anyway? Fear had gripped her heart, and she was having trouble breathing. She tried to take a deep breath, but her lungs failed her. Only if she knew what was happening then, she might be able to push back the onslaught of panic.

She recalled arguing with her parents earlier. They were refusing to even consider her feelings, adamant that she must remain on the island. They told her that she was too young to understand the depth of the danger they faced. They didn’t want her caught in the middle of a mafia war.

“She’s as good as dead. I mean, a bullet to the heart? There’s no way she’ll survive that.”

“But I think she’s still alive.”

She wanted to know as well, but she couldn’t fully understand the situation. Vaguely, she wondered if they were talking about her or if there was someone else there?

After arguing with her parents, she had run to her bedroom and locked herself in the hidden room behind the bookshelves.

Her father had shown this room to her when she was a kid. It had fascinated her, and over the years, she had begun to use it as her sanctuary. It was where she felt the safest. Only a few people knew about it. It was one of many secrets this mansion held close to its bosom.

“Leave her. What do we care, anyway? We’ve gotten rid of the entire Bakai gang in one day. Our targets were Lord Atticus and his family. Now that they are all dead, I say that’s a win.” She heard a laugh then. “This girl isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Even if she’s alive right now, it’s only a matter of minutes before she meets her parents in the afterlife.”

It hurt. Aurora didn’t know why but somewhere, in her heart — Something hurt like hell.

“Well, that happens when you get lax and start hoping for peace. There’s none to be found in this world. High and mighty Lord Atticus has finally met his maker.”

Wait, were they talking about her father? Oh no! Her father was dead. The moment it dawned on her, she tried with zealous to open her eyes, to ask them who the hell they were?

“Let’s go and report.”

She heard retreating footsteps, and a door closed with a bang. After that, she heard nothing but silence. She waited. For how long? She had no idea. But no one came, nothing else happened, and she laid there in deafening silence, with her eyes closed, her body unable to move, and her mind unable to rest. Then, sometime along the line, came blissful darkness and engulfed her whole.

***

It was his two-hundred and twenty-second assignment. A war between the two gangs had taken place in this mansion. As Prince Phillip stood near the bottom of a staircase, he looked around him. At least a dozen dead bodies were lying there haphazardly. The blood was pooling near his feet. He knew this would be hell. Collecting so many souls at once wasn’t going to be easy, but he needed to follow each thread in his hand and take them back to the Underworld.

It took him a while, but now only four threads remained in his hands. He followed the three that were together. They led him upstairs to the third floor of the mansion. As he walked towards the room at the end of the hallway, he began to feel strange. The place was vaguely familiar. He had been there before.

He tried to remember, but nothing came to mind. Over the past few years, he had begun to forget many things about his life. He was still trying to recall when he came face to face with the three of the four remaining souls he needed to guide. That’s when the pieces fell together, and his world came crumbling down, once again.

There in front of him stood the souls of his best friends and the love of his life. They were confused, as was the norm with newly dead. If Grim Reapers could cry, he would have cried a million tears then. His heart was torn. Once again, he was betrayed by his cruel fate.

“Prince!”

“Phillip.”

Hima and Atticus had said at the same time. Mark stood there silently, looking at him as if he had seen a ghost.

“How are you here?” Hima asked as if not believing her eyes.

He couldn’t respond. His voice had lost him. What was he supposed to say? ‘Hey, guess what, you are all dead, and I’m here to take you to the Underworld?’

“We are dead. Aren’t we?” Mark was the first one to realize the truth.

“Yeah, that would make sense,” Atticus said, sighing. “So, that’s how it ended.”

“But what about Aurora?” Hima asked, horrified.

“I hope she is fine. Some of my men must have saved her. At least, she isn’t here,” Mark said, although his voice held little hope.

As they talked in their confusion, Phillip stood there unmoving. He was trying to collect himself, mustering up all his courage, and preparing to take his friends to their final destination.

“So, what now?” Atticus looked at him, waiting for an answer.

“Prince?” Hima prompted.

He let go of the threads in his hand. He couldn’t bring himself to do it. He watched in horror as the four threads faded away slowly, disappearing from his view. His friends’ souls began to disappear too.

“Get a hold of yourself, Reaper!” A voice boomed from behind Phillip, bringing him out of his fazed state. He reached out with his hands to quickly grasp the threads, not realizing that he was only able to get a hold of three soul threads instead of four. “Let’s get going. You have wasted enough time daydreaming.”

Without saying anything, he followed Ann out of the mansion. She was his supervisor in the early years. She was the one who had trained him and taught him what it meant to be a Grim Reaper. Good thing she was there to save him from his stupidity.

“As soon as I realized what your assignment was, I knew this would happen,” Ann said, giving him a withering look. “That’s why I followed you here.” He noticed that she was just as emotionless as she had always been. Anger was the only emotion she had ever shown him, but her actions showed that she cared.

He said nothing in response. They were treading on the path leading to the Underworld. Phillip’s three friends were following them silently. He didn’t say anything to any of them. There was nothing to be said. Soon, they would move on to the other side, and he would once again be left alone to drown in his misery. He wondered how long before he lost all his emotions and forgot all his woes.

To be continued…

© 2020 Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

Abyss: My Broken Heart (A Poem)

There is a place deep within my heart,

Holding a secret, I refuse to impart,

Lost somewhere in the stream of time,

When my woe became my biggest crime.

Not long ago, I coveted something unique,

Opposite of love, something no one should seek,

The fool that I was, I never realized it,

If it’s not meant for you, you can’t find it.

My jealousy was without a cause from the start,

In the palm on my hand, I was holding a heart,

Now, only emptiness in its place reside,

I was the one who crushed it, from inside.

With my carelessness I ended up destroying,

Letting it slip away, I wasn’t even trying,

To hold on to it tightly, not even for an instant,

Something that’s now a memory of the distant.

Truth be told, eternity is an absurd notion,

Honestly, even love isn’t a resilient emotion,

Perhaps my insecurities have led me here;

Or it’s the inescapable fate that caused this fear.

Here I stand now, all alone in the darkness,

Remorse for company, my woes the only witness;

Once again, hoping for the impossible to happen,

Another chance to find love with the same person.

I might not deserve it now, even if I had it once,

But knowing that doesn’t make any difference,

I was afraid to see the truth back then,

But I can’t let the history repeat itself again.

Staring at me from the abyss,

Is my despair, mocking me, and telling me this;

The truth can’t be denied; what’s done is done,

A battle, that’s already ended, can no longer be won.

In the palm of my hand, I held her heart,

I should have been careful from the start,

I broke it with my lack of faith,

It’s useless to hope I can go unscathed.

So here I stand, wishing for the impossible,

Willing to pick up the pieces before they crumble,

 What I broke callously, I now wish to mend,

With her, I want another life time to spend.

Within my heart, deep down somewhere,

There is a voice I can now hear,

Telling me to be brave, one last time,

She might just forgive my fatal crime.

I will gladly hold all the broken pieces,

As long as, her pain it erases,

Getting my hands sliced won’t be any trouble,

I’ll happily bleed, as long as I’m the only one who struggle.

© 2020 Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

P.S. As usual, photos are the courtesy of Unsplash.com

Somewhere in Time (A Fairy tale Retelling)

Read Part One Here

Read Part Two Here

Part Three

Exactly a century ago

I was doomed to walk the eternity alone. Was I wronged or was I the one who wronged others? My Life was a mess and my death turned out to be even worse. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find a way to change my fate.

The Year was 1920

Another day had passed and my parents still hadn’t come home, but then, what else was new? This was the norm in this mansion, that often felt like a mausoleum to me. “Come, Yuri,” I said on a whisper, looking down at my cat who was sitting near my feet. “Let’s take a walk in the gardens.”

As I walked down the spacious, well-carpeted stairs, with Yuri in my arms, My mind was a million miles away. Finally reaching the bottom, I walked down the hallway leading towards the back door, through the kitchen. I was looking at the portraits of my ancestors that lined the hallway, wondering about my life. Sometimes I felt like a prisoner in this huge ancestral home.

Unfortunately, neither of my parents knew the difference between a house and a home. They thought that by providing me with all the comforts of modern life, they had done their duty, and they could ignore me in order to follow their own selfish dreams.

My father came from a rich noble family. This mansion was one of many around the world that he had inherited, or so I was told, because this was the only one I had ever known. I didn’t know much about my mother’s side of the family. My parents were always away, doing who knew what?! I was left to live with my dark thoughts, and an army of servants.

I probably wouldn’t have minded that if I had a life of my own. Maybe a few friends to keep me company, but no, I wasn’t allowed to live. I hadn’t left this house since I turned ten. That was six years ago. No one told me why. All my parents had told me was that it’s for my safety. I didn’t know what kind of danger lurked outside of these walls.

“It was a suicide.” I heard the sound of someone slamming their fists on the table. I stopped in my tracks. I was almost at the end of the well-lit hallway. The door to my father’s study was slightly open, and it seemed that he was home, after all. “I don’t know when is his family going to give up their stupid vendetta.” I heard my father’s voice.

Yuri wiggled herself out of my hold and ran towards the kitchen. I kept on listening to the conversation taking place behind the doors of my father’s study.

“It’s been years,” someone else said, but I didn’t recognize this voice. All I could tell was that the voice belonged to a man. Probably someone around my father’s age. “Atticus, I think that we should strike first. There’s no reasoning with them. Violence is the only language they can understand. After all, how long will you keep hiding Aurora on this island? It’s not right. Hima’s health is declining too. Frankly, I’m worried.”

“As much as I want to, you know that I can’t do that.” This time my father’s voice held a hint of sadness. “Hima wouldn’t like that. The life of mindless violence was what destroyed Phillip. He was never the same. I’m not going to stoop down to their level,” he said firmly.

“Ah,” the other man sighed, “nothing we can do then except to make sure that Aurora remains hidden and well protected.”

“Yes,” my father said, confirming my worst fears, “That old crook, Dan, wants to kill Aurora because he thinks that I killed his son. Foolish, stubborn man. You know what the worst part is?” He paused, not getting a response from his companion he continued, “The worst part is that Phillip and I actually mended the rift between us. Of course, because of our families, we had always kept our friendship a secret from them,” he said. I could hear nostalgia in his tone. “And then Hima chose me over him.” He chuckled, “not that anyone could blame her.”

His companion chuckled too. “You’re too full of yourself. We had some good times; you, me, and Phillip. Remember the summer we spent here once. Three teenagers, on their own, causing trouble for the household staff. When your father found out that you brought some ‘unknown’ friends, he was furious with you.”

“Yes, those were the good days, when Phillip was alive and happy. I don’t even know how everything turned out so wrong.” My father sighed.

I was rooted to the door. I didn’t know about any of this. My mind was churning with the overload of emotions; sadness, regret, love, and hope. It was like I had found a new meaning to my life. I was finally starting to understand why I was forced to live in isolation. My parents didn’t hate me. They had a good reason. It was wrong of me to eavesdrop, but I couldn’t move. I wanted to know more.

“Phillip came back to us when Aurora was born. I had hoped that we could once again be friends. Hima was so happy to see him. His friendship had meant the world to her. Alas! Only a few days later we heard of his death.”

“Why did he kill himself?” My father’s companion asked, “This question has been bothering me a lot.”

“Who knows,” my father replied, “Anyway, I want to have a face to face meeting with Dan.”

“Do what you must, Atticus. Although I must warn you if things didn’t change, I won’t be able to hold back. You might not be familiar with how mafia world works, but I’m still the leader of a gang, and Aurora is my god-daughter. If someone threatens her, I’ll be forced to take action.”

Strange, he was my god-father but I didn’t know him. What else had my parents been hidding from me? I didn’t know for how long I stood there, in the middle of the hallway, listening to a private conversation, and thinking how complicated my life was, but as soon as I heard some shuffling, I ran upstairs back to my room.

I needed to process everything I had just heard. At last, I was beginning to understand the motive behind my parents’ odd behavior and out-of-date rules. Now that I knew a few things, I planned to have a more open discussion with them. We could come to some kind of solution that’d make us all happy.

It was the twentieth century, after all, what problem couldn’t be solved these days? We could change our identities and move somewhere else. Then this Dan guy would never be able to find us. That was one of the options that came to my mind.  All I knew was that I wanted my parents to be with me.

I was going to turn sixteen in a few days. My parents always celebrated my birthday with me. It meant that my mother would be arriving soon as well. My mind was made up. I would talk to them. It was high time that I saw the world beyond these walls and lived a little.

To be continued…

© 2020 Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

Perspective (A Poem)

When love isn’t enough,

It’s better to let go of the feelings

That have already been fading away.

When life is a mess,

It’s better to remind yourself

Of the things that inspire you the most.

When end seems near,

It’s better to bow down gracefully,

There is no point in fretting.

Loss isn’t just loss,

When you think carefully,

It’s also an opportunity to begin anew.

To be able to rise from the ashes

Is no less than a superpower,

But when you try, you can achieve it.

Somethings are easier said than done,

Yet saying them is just as important,

After that they won’t seem impossible.

As long as you can say it out loud,

Channeling your inner strength

You can do it, nothing’s out of your reach.

Life is all about perspective,

Take a step back, look again,

Keep trying, and never give up!

Whatever may be your struggle,

The end will come soon enough,

You just need to make this moment count.

© 2020 Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

As usual, all the photos are taken from Unsplash.com

I’m Writing: Works in Progress

As you already know, I’m a writer as well as a reader. I enjoy writing short stories and poetry. Now, I’m trying something different. I’m working on a novella (maybe?) and a novel. It’s not easy and I’m struggling, to be honest. However, I think this will be a learning experience for me. I’m definitely going to enjoy this journey.

Anyway, I thought that today instead of sharing my reviews and views on other writers’ works, I will share my works in progress with you guys. You can also check out my published work here. All my books are free with kindle unlimited.

Myths of the Night

Synopsis:

All Sahir wanted was to find his friend and make sure that he was safe. He never imagined that following someone in the dead of the night would lead him straight to the Underworld.

All Meena desired was to find her place in the world and maybe find one person who would accept her for who she was. Never in her wildest dreams did she think that she’d end up in the Otherworld, and finally learn the truth about herself. It seemed that her loneliness was eternal, after all.

Zim had been waiting for someone strong enough to summon him to the Aboveworld. However, he didn’t count on the person being a Grim Reaper. Now he had to help the evil being. Not only that, but he must also hunt down one person he never wanted to see again. What the journey held for him was anybody’s guess.

When the paths of these people from three different worlds collide, a chain of events unfolds, and truths are revealed. Unfortunately, Sameen found herself to be in the middle of it all. Now, the four of them are about to uncover things that should have remained a secret.

What will happen to the carefully crafted lies that history had been telling us? Find out in the epic paranormal adventure and explore a world of fantasy.

Where Your Dreams Reside

Synopsis:

It all starts with a dream that leads Sarah to a magical place. It’s a place like none other, a place where all our dreams reside. Something is amiss, though. Things in Dreamland aren’t as they ought to be. It is up to her to save it. The good thing is that she isn’t alone. She has her friends, and more importantly, her dreams to guide her through this exciting journey. A journey that will take her to the places that are unknown to mankind. Where she will meet creatures she has only read about in books and seen in her dreams.
Will Sarah be able to save Dreamland, or is it just too hopeless? Find out in this exciting journey to a place ‘Where Your Dreams Reside!’


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I’m also working on a short story ‘Somewhere in Time,’ but this one I’m sharing on my blog as well. I have already posted the first two parts of it, and the third one will be posted on coming Friday.

It’s a retelling of Sleeping Beauty with a much darker twist and no happy ending in sight. But who knows, things might change in the end.


You can follow me at Wattpad and keep yourself up-to-date with my works in progress. I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts. Kindly, keep in my mind, these are ongoing stories. I edit as I go. Sometimes I re-write things that I don’t like. Sometimes I change stuff based on readers’ comments/suggestions. So kindly, at the moment don’t expect perfection. In any case, if you read at Wattpad then you are welcome to check out my work.

P.S. I made these covers using canva and photos from unsplash. They aren’t final book covers, just something for fun as I write.

Somewhere in Time (A Fairy tale Retelling)

Read Part One Here

Part Two

A few days later

‘Why was life so cruel?’ he asked himself, but of course, he had no answer. All he hoped now was for death to be kinder. Taking one deep breath, he jumped into the murky waters below. The waves were crashing against the rocks, reach out to him and he was about to meet them halfway down.

The Same Year (1904)

Prince Phillip woke up with a start, his heart was racing. Taking a deep breath, he looked at the ceiling. ‘What happened?’ he thought, noticing that he was lying somewhere dark and cold. The only light in the room was from the full moon, looking down at him through a small window to his right. There was no furniture in this room. I could feel the hard floor under his back.

The last thing he recalled was standing at the precipice, figuratively as well as quite literally, and trying to think of a single good thing in his life. He had told himself that if he could imagine even the slightest glimmer of happiness or hope anywhere, he wouldn’t jump. Unfortunately, nothing had come to mind. That was it then, after a decade of struggle he had decided to give up on life.

Things hadn’t been going well for him anyway. He was forced to work for his family and live a life he had promised himself to never be a part of. He had managed to hold on to for a few years, but the happy faces of his two former friends actually turned out to be the final nail in his coffin. Seeing them proudly looking at their daughter, love evident in their eyes, had made him realize that he had nothing. Absolutely nothing!

Even as he tried to reconcile with Atticus, he couldn’t bring himself to be truly happy for his friend. It should have been him. Hima was his fiancé before Atticus stole her heart and took her away from him. She was the only light in his dark world. Without her, his life had no meaning.

He wasn’t sure how he had managed to survive. At the back of his mind, there had always been this hope that someday Hima would come back to him. That was gone now. He had seen with his own eyes how happy she was with Atticus. She would never return to him and he refused to keep living in a world where they weren’t together.

He hated that he was sad while they were happy and he hated himself for thinking that way. He had truly become his father’s son; scum of the mafia world. Looking at the sleeping beauty, Aurora, for a minute there he had wished for her to never wake up. He had wished for her to keep sleeping, for a hundred years, maybe forever, and he had hated that thought. Death was the only solution, but his, not anyone else’s.

Was he dead after all? He surely felt cold. His miserable thoughts hadn’t left him, though. Wasn’t death supposed to bring him peace. He looked at the bare walls of the room, noticing that there was a door to his left. A way out, perhaps?

He was still confused when the said door clicked and someone entered the room. For a moment he wasn’t able to see a thing from the burst of bright light that had followed. When his eyes adjusted to the light, he saw that the newcomer was a woman dressed all in black. She kept standing in the doorway, hands on her hips, and glared at his prone form on the floor.

“So, you’re up?” she said, smirking. “Another fool taking his own life as if it means nothing.”

He wanted to ask her so many things, but his voice was lost. He instinctively knew that he wouldn’t be able to form the words, so he didn’t try. Silently, he stared up at her lean and athletic form, wondering who the hell she was. He didn’t try to sit up, still lying on the floor, he looked at her with curiosity.

“Anyway,” she said, sighing, “welcome to the Underworld. You’re one of those unfortunate souls who are here to stay and will never move on. Congratulations!”

Was she being sarcastic? He definitely detected malice in her tone. That wasn’t his biggest concern, though. It seemed that even death wasn’t kind to him, after all. Still unable to speak, he averted his eyes, not being able to look at her through the tears now brimming in them. His heart was a broken as it was in life. Death was just as cruel.

“Save your tears, idiot!” she bellowed. “Pathetic! You humans never learn.” She was now glaring at him with open hostility. “You have brought this upon yourself when you decided to jump from that cliff. Now your soul is ours. You belong to the Grim Reapers Society and you will work for us for eternity.” She looked like a cat, ready to pounce. Phillip was sure she could see the fear in his eyes because she took a deep breath then as if trying to calm herself down. “Anyway, I’ll give you a few hours to collect yourself. Hopefully, your voice will return by then and we can talk business.” With that she was gone, leaving him alone to drown in his misery, and only the moon to keep him company.

For some reason, he felt closer to the moon. The moon was finally his. It will keep him company in the long nights that were about to become his new reality. She had said eternity, he wondered how long would that be. Perhaps, in time he would be able to forget about his past, about Hima and Atticus. Hopefully, soon his conscience would leave him alone for thinking murderous thoughts about a newborn baby.

In all of this, that’s what bothered him the most. Growing up he used to promise himself that he would never kill anyone. He had planned to leave his family and move far away from them, forging a better life for himself.

Atticus was his childhood friend. He had met him by chance when he was visiting one of his Aunts. They never lost contact and as they grew older, their friendship had grown with them.

He had met Hima when he was eighteen. They had dated for few years before he proposed to her and she said yes. He had never kept anything from either of them. They knew about his family and they also knew about his aspirations.

When he was twenty-two, he had moved away, cutting ties with his family. They indulged him and no one had come after him. After all, they didn’t need him anyway. Hima decided to stay with him and they started their lives in a new city. The city where Atticus lived.

If Phillip was being honest with himself, he would admit that Atticus was the reason why he wanted to be a better man in the first place. He held him in high regard and wanted to be as good as his friend was.

Things didn’t go as planned. “Life tended to play its jokes on us,” he whispered to himself, smiling sadly. The moment he introduced Hima to Atticus, their fates were sealed. There was no going back then. They called him Prince of hell, but even he couldn’t stand in the path of true love.

“Hima,” he said softly as another tear rolled down his cheek. “Let’s never meet again.”

To be continued…

© 2020 Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

When Change is Needed (A Poem)

When Change is Needed, Be Brave!

Sometimes, you don’t get to choose

The path you walk on in life,

But remember that;

It’s not unchangeable.

Nothing is ever set in stone,

Every step that you take

Can be retraced —

You can change direction any time you want.

You can go a different way,

If that pleases you,

Or take a U-turn

If that’s what you want to do.

There is no limit to your options,

So don’t put yourself in a cage, like a fool,

As long as you are alive and willing,

You go can go wherever you like.

You can carve your own destiny,

And do whatever your heart desires,

Easy or full of hardships,

The path you walk on isn’t permanent.

Only sky is the limit,

If you’re brave enough to take this chance —

When change is needed,

You should change directions.

That’s not all, though,

Even if you can take any road you like,

It doesn’t mean that you can’t also,

Leave it all to chance.

Let the wind of fate carry you away,

Take a step without looking down,

If this is your wish then so be it,

Go and let yourself discover new worlds.

Without inhibitions you can move forward,

No need to worry about the future,

Because not everything needs to go as planned,

Sometimes, these things happen without reason.

Change can be good or bad,

Staying the same can be comfortable,

Make your choice, but keep this in mind;

It must be yours and yours alone.

You will be walking alone,

Weathering each storm as it comes your way,

Do as you please and let me tell you this;

Don’t let someone else dictate your life’s path.

© 2020 Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.

Seven Best Opening Lines From Books

It is often said that an opening line can make or break your story. I completely agree with this. Many times, when I’m at a bookstore, I simply glance at the first page of a book. If the starting captures my attention then I buy it without any other consideration. It’s rare for me to go to a bookstore with a list. Honestly, I just like to browse and make spontaneous decisions.

Today, I’m going to share my top seven favorite opening lines from books I might or might not have read. Because why not? And why must every list be about top ten or top five things? I like seven!

  1. “Tonight I got arrested. I hate saying that, but it happens.” ~ Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose by Gillian McCainLegs McNeil
  2. “It’s funny what you hold on to, the things you remember when everything ends.” ~ The Siren by Kiera Cass
  3. “There is something about these bloody squadron leaders that makes them think that if they lock you up in a cell, put their stinking mouth to your ear, and shout something about your mother, they can find all the answers.” ~ A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif
  4. “Why did the day always drag on for eternity when you had plans after school?” ~Competing with the Star (Star #2) by Krysten Lindsay Hager
  5. “I was born twice.” ~ The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane
  6. “On the tenth day of the sixth month of the lunar calendar, the evening sky was covered with a dense blanket of dark clouds, and the earth, usually lively and bustling at the height of summer, suddenly grew quiet.” ~ Life by Lu Yao
  7. “I remember a time before you cried every night, a time before you shook every morning.” ~ Away From Here (Away From Here #1) by Christopher Harlan

P.S. I have excluded classic novels from this impromptu opening lines competition. We all know that if I had considered the classics then none of these lines would have made it to the list. Quotes from classic novels are talked about often enough as it is so I just wanted to give other books a chance.

P.P.S. Do share your favorite opening lines with us. I find this to be the best way to discover hidden gems among the never-ending TBR lists and bump them up.

Somewhere in Time (A Fairy tale Retelling)

Synopsis: It's a retelling of Sleeping Beauty with a much darker twist.

Part One

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More than a century ago

There weren’t many things I wanted from life, but the one thing that I had desired the most, remained elusive, hiding just out of reach. No matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn’t touch the moon.

The Year was 1904

Looking at the chubby face of their newborn baby girl, they both thought the same thing; she was the most beautiful child in the world and they’d do anything to protect her. It was the happiest day of their lives.

“Have you thought of a name yet?” Atticus asked his wife.

“Aurora,” she said, smiling, “because she is the dawn of our new life.”

“Beautiful just like her,” he said, kissing his daughter on the forehead, “Aurora it is then.”

After years of waiting and praying Lord Atticus and Lady Hima were blessed with a baby girl. They wanted to celebrate her birth with all the pomp and show befitting a princess. After all, Atticus was one of the richest men in the world. Being from a noble family, he was well-respected, and his heiress deserved to be cherished.

“You’re already planning a party,” Hima said, knowing her husband well, “aren’t you?”

“Of course,” he declared, “honestly, I don’t want the celebrations to end. I have already debriefed the staff and hired a planner. You won’t have to worry about a thing.”

The day of the party came soon enough. They had invited all the important people, including national and international dignitaries. Unfortunately, their celebration was cut short when an old friend unexpectedly crashed the party. Phillip’s sudden appearance was most unwelcomed. No one else noticed it as the party went on, but Atticus made sure that he greeted Phillip himself because he wanted to make sure that the Prince didn’t go anywhere near his wife or daughter.

“Aren’t you happy to see me?” Phillip asked as if accusing his friend of being negligent.

There was a time when the two were closer than brothers. Even though they came from different backgrounds, their friendship was fodder for people’s envy.

“You weren’t invited,” Atticus stated, looking weary. He didn’t want to offend Phillip as he was well aware that if either of them lost their temper, it wouldn’t end well for anyone, and also because this was the day for celebrations. It wasn’t the time for opening the old wounds — that still hurt.

“Don’t worry, I don’t have bad intentions. I only wanted to congratulate you. Can’t I be included in my friends’ happiness anymore?” There was sadness in his voice underlined with regret.

It made Atticus wonder what he was up to now. “I don’t think that I can believe you. After all, you have tried to kill me a few times.” He glared at his former best friend.

“I admit that I was hurt and angry when Hima chose you over me, but it’s all water under the bridge now. Let’s not fight anymore. So much time has passed.”

There was something in Phillip’s eyes that made Atticus believe him. His friend looked remorseful, but on the other hand, he knew all about his current reputation. It would be wise not to let his guard down. After all, Prince Phillip wasn’t an easy man to understand. These days, he was known as the Prince of hell.

Atticus wondered when did his friend become so cruel. He had once vowed never to become a part of his family’s mafia lifestyle. Perhaps he needed someone to believe in him. “One last chance,” Atticus said. He hoped that by extending a hand of friendship he would be able to bring his friend back from hell.

Just then Hima entered the ballroom with sleeping Aurora in her arms. “Prince!” she exclaimed. Where everyone had always called him Phillip, she was the only one who used his given name. “You’re here.” She looked genuinely happy to see him.

“Of course, how could I miss such a day,” Phillip said. He smiled at her and this time his smile reached his eyes. “Congratulations to you both.”

“Thank you,” Atticus and Hima said at the same time.

“Let me introduce you to our beloved daughter. This is Aurora,” Hima said with all the pride of a new parent. “You know, I have been thinking about you a lot, lately.”

“You have?” This time Phillip and Atticus said at the same time. After all, Atticus had no idea that his wife missed their mutual friend who was also her former lover.

“Yeah, I know things didn’t end well between us, but I think it’s time that we forget about the past and renew our friendship. I hope that’s why you are here,” she said, looking at both men with hope in her eyes.

Atticus knew that she had always blamed herself for coming between the two friends and turning them against each other, but the heart wanted what it wanted. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for his wife and besides he had already decided to give Phillip another chance.

“That’s right,” Phillip said, “Anyway I won’t keep you from your guests. I think I have already taken enough of your time.”

“You are leaving so soon?” Hima said, “Won’t you stay for dinner?”

“Some other time,” he said, smiling. “I have brought a present for Aurora, though. If it’s okay with you guys.”

“How thoughtful of you.” Hima looked excited while Atticus looked weary once again. This unexpected visit from Phillip was beginning to unsettle him. There was an undercurrent of emotions. He couldn’t put his finger on it but he had a bad feeling.

“It’s nothing extravagant. I have left it with the other presents. I hope you like it,” he said, and then looked at the sleeping child.

Atticus noticed the glint in his friend’s eyes. Something had crossed Phillip’s mind then, as he had stared at the sleeping baby, but he hadn’t voiced his thoughts. Troubled by that odd look, he quickly said goodbye and ushered Hima to greet other guests. From the corner of his eyes, he watched as Phillip made his way out of the room. Only then did he sighed in relief and hoped that the rest of the party went off without a hitch.

To be continued…

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